CROOKSTON, Minnesota- Dave Currier 1974 loves a challenge. He is a successful businessman, a recent winner of The Motorcycle Cannonball race across the country, and he has traveled the world crossing many mountain landscapes for sheep. Currier learned the basics of being a businessman and challenge seeker from his family and his time as a student at the University of Minnesota Crookston in the 1970s.
Currier never shied away from an opportunity and always tried to stay on the cutting edge of technology with his company. His primary and constant goal was to create a successful business providing excellent service and products to his customers. “When I started in the business, one of the things I learned coming out of school was that whatever you do in life, if you do a great job, be customer-focused. , provide a great product, unreal service and fair price, you will be successful,” Currier remarked.
Currier’s journey began in Fargo, ND, where he started Dakota Fence as a sole proprietorship after graduating from Fargo North High School. He saw a lack of fencing companies in the area and recognized an opportunity to fill the void. “I had a guy who wanted me to build a wooden fence,” Currier said. “I liked carpentry lessons and I liked working with my hands. I built a wooden fence, then a neighbor wanted one. It’s been about three months since I made a bunch of wooden fences.
It was around this time that Currier began his studies at the Technical College of the University of Minnesota at Crookston. Currier was a good hockey player in high school and was approached by Dale Stinar and Chuck Habstritt to play hockey for the Trojans. Currier saw it as a great opportunity to play hockey and get an education. “I went up to Crookston and got involved in hockey,” Currier said. “It was an incredible experience. I don’t know anyone other than the hockey team in 1973 that played in the Lake Placid arena. It had a real impact on me. I took lessons in sales and marketing and I kinda liked the business side. The second year the closing business was going so well and I was probably making more money than my banker at the time. The last half of the year, I lived in Fargo and commuted maybe two days a week.
Currier has learned a lot of discipline balancing work, hockey and school at UMN Crookston. He was able to learn from great teachers. Ted Carr, then president of the business division, continues to stand out to this day. “Ted was one of the instructors in several of my classes. He had a way of him. You never lost him in class. He could help you focus and you came away with a lot of knowledge. I got him. always admired. He would take the time after a class was over to say, “Hey, do you have a minute? I just want to visit you. He shared some personal things with me about Carr’s Tree Service, as I tried to run this fencing business. I would ask him questions. He was a very guiding person even though he had no relationship with me. He had no other connection with me other than I was a student of his class.
Currier continues to credit much of Dakota Fence’s success to his father Dick Currier, who helped him get the company off the ground in the mid-1970s. His father quit his job and joined him with Dakota Fence . “In 1975 I asked my dad to quit his job and we formed a partnership. It was the first Dakota Fence Corporation. He sold cars, owned the Harley Davidson dealership in Fargo and the Indian Motorcycle dealership in ’40s and ’50s in Fargo. He had always been in sales, whether it was cars, planes, motorcycles. I learned a lot on the sales side from my dad.
They eventually convinced Dave’s brother, Dan, to join the company as well. Dakota Fence continued to grow. In addition to fencing, they have become one of the largest tri-state freeway special contractors, supplying guardrails, signage and safety equipment for freeway services. Moreover, thanks to a passion of his father, they began to focus on playground equipment. The company now has offices in Fargo, Bismarck, Minot and Williston, ND Currier has recently stepped back from the company and his children are in charge. His three children, Joe, Amy and John, decided to get involved in the business and they continued their father’s focus on growth and innovation.
“Not many companies can go second or third generation and be successful,” Currier said. “There are always fights, power struggles and money struggles. I told my three children that you have a platform, financially you have no debt. You have to take it to a new level and that’s what they do. I’m pretty proud of them. My son Joe has been president for four years and each of the last four years the business has grown tremendously.
Currier still helps out when needed with Dakota Fence, but his focus has turned to his hobbies and challenging nature. When he was still working, he enjoyed hunting mountain goats around the world, a hobby that grew out of a bond he and his brother, Dan, had with their father when they were younger. “I have always been a hunter. The reason I love sheep is that I love flying planes, I love mountaineering, and I love real challenges. sheep hunting is a challenge. It’s not a hunting trip for everyone because it’s hardcore. You bring a piece of plastic and sleep under a rock. I have literally traveled the world hunting sheep.
His most recent focus has been restoring and racing vintage motorcycles, a hobby born out of his father’s interest in motorcycles when Dave was growing up. “When I started out, I was riding a motorcycle when I was seven years old. I couldn’t even touch the ground. We would go to the golf course. Dad would start it up and it would jump and I would ride a bike and when I wanted to I’ve gotten really into early 1910s vintage bikes ever since. I have a 1910, two 1911s and four 1915s. then I started doing cross country endurance racing on it that’s really what I like to do now I work on a 1930 Model C single and I also build a trail race bike from 1915.”
Dakota Fence is entering its 50th year in business in 2022. It was through the knowledge and mentorship he gained at Crookston that he learned many strategies to grow his business. It is a company, under the direction of its children, that is sure to continue to be successful for many years to come. This year, Currier received the Outstanding Alumni Award, the highest honor given to alumni by the UMC Alumni Association. As Dave humbly stated, “It’s proof that you don’t have to be an honor roll student to excel at a high level in anything you do.”